Naik takes UK ban to the High Court

By Jessica Elgot, October 22, 2010
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Fighting back: Dr Zakir Naik

Fighting back: Dr Zakir Naik

An Islamic preacher who said Jews were the "staunchest enemies" of Muslims should be allowed into the UK, the High Court heard this week.

Dr Zakir Naik, an Indian-based Islamic activist, was banned from entering the UK by Home Secretary Theresa May in June this year, two days before a planned speaking tour. This week, Dr Naik took the Home Office to the High Court for a judicial review, heard by Mr Justice Cranston.

Announcing the ban in June, Mrs May cited a 2007 speech by Dr Naik about Muslims and Jews as an example of Dr Naik's extreme views.

He said: "The Jews, by nature, will be against Muslims. There are many Jews who are good to Muslims but, as a whole, the Koran tells us they will be our staunchest enemy." She also cited comments Dr Naik made about Osama Bin Laden: "If he is terrorising America the terrorist, I am with him. Every Muslim should be a terrorist."

Mrs May said: "Coming to the UK is
a privilege, not a right, and I am not willing to allow those who might not be conducive to the public good to enter the UK."

In response, Dr Naik released a statement saying it was "deeply regrettable that the British government has bowed to pressure from sectarian and Islamophobic pressure groups".

Shortly after the ban was announced, the director of the Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism, Charles Farr, allegedly emailed Inayat Bunglawala, chairman of lobby group Muslims4UK, to assure him he would work to overturn the order. Dr Naik said before the review began that Mr Farr's support would be used to make the case for overturning the ban.

His lawyers argued it was unfair to ban him at such short notice and that the speeches had been taken out of context, made many years ago, predating him being granted a five-year visa by the Home Office in 2008.

    Last updated: 10:36am, October 22 2010